Renewal at a 50th reunion CHANGE

Sue Miller

May 29, 1991|By Sue Miller

AT MY 50th college reunion in Boston, I found that I can still dance all night and even squeeze in a little romance.

That's pretty heady stuff for a woman who was also celebrating her 71st birthday.

"Do you think it will be worth coming back for?" the bouncy young Boston University sophomore said as she guided me through the cavernous student union to the elevator that would carry me to classmates I remembered as young and beautiful half a century ago.

"I'll tell you in three days," I responded airily, never dreaming I would return to Baltimore feeling brand new.

It was the dancing that fueled the romance. My late husband had been a wonderful dancer, and I have always loved to dance. But without a partner, you don't dance much anymore. In Boston, I met a classmate I hadn't seen in 50 years who just happened to be a marvelous dancer. He was there alone. His wife had died in 1985.

Back in '41, he was the class president, the captain of the football team and quite handsome. Guys like that date the most gorgeous women on campus. I never got to know him very well. He was attending the College of Business Administration for a degree in management.

I've always worn glasses and, as one of four associate editors of the B.U. News -- then the largest newspaper on any college campus in the country -- I hung around with the more morose journalism types. When we weren't putting out the paper, we drank beer, grumbled about the sad shape of the world and talked about how we could change or save it.

Now he is a retired Air Force colonel living in California and I, a cum laude graduate of CBA's School of Journalism, am still meeting deadlines as a medical writer for The Evening Sun. So, here we were at Reunion Weekend '91, seizing the moment. It was an extraordinary time in my life.

The College of Business Administration, now known as the School of Management, drew the largest crowd of any other college holding a 50th reunion dinner. Eighty-five were there -- 35 classmates and their spouses and 15 others on their own.

At 11 p.m. on the opening night of the three-day affair, many of us were still reminiscing, reluctant to let go.

There were 240 students in the class, only 15 of whom were women. A quick survey showed that I was the only woman who had made a career of newspapering. And it also revealed I was the only unattached woman at the reunion.

Back then, we paid $320 a year to attend B.U., known as the "poor student's college." The annual expense today, we were told, is $22,000!

Of my old classmates, some still go to offices daily. Others have retired but are still working as consultants. Some do aerobics. One belongs to four dance clubs, and a few are enrolled in college courses.

There was something else about these people: They all seemed to have learned how to take time out to smell the roses.

After the reunion dinner, many were planning another get-together in five years. But in the closing moments of the lobster/clambake and big-band finale on Saturday night, a die-hard core decided that it couldn't wait five years. We simply had to meet again in '92 -- this time in Florida.

I'm hoping my classmate from California will be there. I know I'm planning on it.

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